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Nithya Raman, Kevin De León got more homeless people off the street. Will that sway voters?

Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

Nithya Raman won a spot on the Los Angeles City Council four years ago by promising to ease the city's homelessness crisis.

Now, the council member points to her work reducing the number of people living on the street in her Silver Lake-to-Reseda district as she runs for reelection.

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority data show "unsheltered homelessness" dropped 7% in her district over a two-year period. The term includes anyone living in the open or in a tent or car.

Councilmember Kevin de León is also waging a reelection campaign and sending out mailers announcing that homelessness dropped in his district.

Unsheltered homelessness dropped 7% in his Northeast L.A. district last year, according to unofficial LAHSA results.

Raman and De León aren't viewed as friends or political allies. But both are in the same boat: waging a tough reelection campaign while touting progress in their districts on homelessness.

 

Such a message can bolster a campaign in a city where polls show that homelessness is the No. 1 issue. Political consultant Brian Van Riper said voters will also weigh the city's success on how they feel walking around their neighborhoods and whether there are signs of homelessness.

"Voters vote as much on feeling and emotion as they do on statistic and fact," said Van Riper, who is not involved in the race.

Two factors make it hard this election year to track City Hall's progress on the crisis.

Some City Council district boundaries were changed significantly following the city's 2021 redistricting process.

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